I was five years old the first time I rode a horse. My father just lifted me up and put me on, then gave the horse a slap and off I went. That's the way a Buryat learns to ride: you just get on and do it. I rode for a while over the fields before I finally fell off. But even after falling, I had to get right back on.
I have been working at Buryat Pravda for almost thirty years now. It's important for Buryats to have a newspaper in their own language: a culture that doesn't have its own language is a dead culture.
During the Brezhnev era, our culture was suppressed, but it could never be stamped out. People kept their beliefs hidden; that was the only way. I was a Communist Party member then, but even so, I was always a Buddhist. We didn't have temples or lamas, but all the same, people never stopped believing.